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Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue ScientistWed, Apr 23, 2014 7 min read

Why Your CFO Is Going To Love Email Marketing If It's Part of Inbound Marketing

CFOLovesMarketing resized 600Email marketing tends to get a bad rep. Low open rates, lower click-through rates, increasingly dynamic spam filters and tons of promotional emails make using email marketing much more challenging than it needs to be. However, it’s hard to look past the marketing ROI on this tactic.

Most emails cost about one cent to send, and when your email marketing effort is structured properly, the return is amazing. Here are some progressive applications of email marketing as a component of an inbound marketing program.

Focus On Customers – Marketing has a tendency to ignore existing customers, but an email campaign dedicated to current customers is the perfect way to impact revenue quickly. These people already like your company, your products and your services. Yet, most of them aren’t aware of everything your business offers. Only 20% of businesses sell a full suite of services or products to all of their customers.

Don’t make your emails promotional: Keep them educational, just like we’ve been counseling you to do for prospects. Apply the same principles here. Introduce them to new products and services by highlighting the challenges faced by other customers and then presenting your offerings as solutions. Focus on the results, improvements or savings from these situations. By regularly reaching out to current customers in this way, you're going to see an increase in revenue from them.

Highly Segmented Messaging – The more specific your messages are, the higher the engagement rate. The more generic your messages are, the lower the engagement rate. Email marketing is the ideal inbound marketing tactic to create very specific messages for highly segmented subsets of your prospect database. Once you create your personas, tag each and every record in your email database and then create customized email marketing messages for each of those segments.

To be really effective, that segmentation effort needs to include offers and educational content specific to those personas. Highly visual personas should receive videos and infographics, while more research-oriented personas get whitepapers. For those personas in between, use e-books. By taking the extra time to segment your list and then create specific email marketing campaigns, you're likely to see increases in open and click-through rates that more than pay for the extra effort.

Nurturing Leads To Close – If you think you know when your prospects are going to move ahead and hire you, think again. No human does anything until his/her pain becomes acute. Until that happens, there is no sales person, marketing technique or magic word capable of getting your prospects to sign. However, if you have been talking to them, educating them, advising them and making them feel safe with your business week after week and month after month, the deal is yours to lose when that pain finally surfaces.

Lead nurturing is one of the secrets to a solid inbound marketing execution. Email marketing is a key contributor to lead nurturing, but it has to be performed systematically, rhythmically and with an educational perspective.

Campaign-Specific Email – Campaigns are alive and well in the world of inbound marketing, but they have to be planned and structured properly. Email marketing enables you to focus your messaging for a specific campaign and effectively deliver those messages for several months. Once the campaign has run its course, you're able to shift gears again and begin another campaign, which you would promote via email marketing. Doing so allows you to keep your website messaging more general and all-inclusive while drilling down on your persona segments to promote specific elements of your business at various times throughout the year.

Creating The Experience – Marketing experts agree that the experience you create for your prospects is ultimately what moves them to want to do business with your company. Email marketing is the vehicle for you to develop that experience. It's certainly not the only vehicle, as your website, sales people, educational content and social media also contribute to that experience, but email marketing is one of the prominent players.

For instance, if you start offering discounts, promotions and advertising via email marketing efforts, sending something every single day, you're likely to turn a lot of potential prospects away from your business. That is an example of negative experience creation. But if you send out one or two emails per month, ones that educate and advise, your prospects are going to have a much better image of your company. Better yet, what if you let them decide how and when they receive information from you? Wouldn’t that make their experience even more personal and remarkable? This is becoming a best practice for more progressive companies.

Email marketing must be approached strategically in your inbound marketing mix. You need to be sensitive to your prospects' experience with your push marketing and make sure it’s about them, not you. Email marketing drives a great deal of revenue for clients that apply it properly.

Start Today Tip – Make sure that each of your emails has a very strategic goal in mind. Don’t email your list just for the sake of emailing them. For example, we distribute a “best of the blog” email every other week. The strategy behind this is about getting people to read interesting educational content and then sign up to the blog, where we are able to talk to them every day instead of twice a month. Make sure your frequency is contributing to a good experience. If people are opting out, you're over-emailing. Segmentation also helps with this: While you may be sending out an email every week, your recipients might only be getting one out of every four because of your segmentations efforts.

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Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist

Mike is the CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist at Square 2. He is passionate about helping people turn their ordinary businesses into businesses people talk about. For more than 25 years, Mike has been working hand-in-hand with CEOs and marketing and sales executives to help them create strategic revenue growth plans, compelling marketing strategies and remarkable sales processes that shorten the sales cycle and increase close rates.